Concerns have been raised that plans published by B&NES Council to cut the number of Heavy Goods Vehicles in Bath could actually make the problem worse in parts of the city.
The Council last week published a Traffic Regulation Order which, if signed-off, would prevent large lorries from turning left onto the A36 Beckford Road from the A4. However, this weight restriction would not stop lorries from travelling across Cleveland Bridge and continuing through the city to the A367 Wellsway or along the Lower Bristol Road.
Conservative Councillors and residents in the Widcombe area of Bath have said they are concerned that these plans could actually increase the number of lorries travelling through that area of the city as well as Oldfield Park and along the Wellsway.
The plan for the weight limit on Beckford Road was originally published for consultation in March by the then Conservative Cabinet Member in charge of Transport, Cllr Charles Gerrish. However, following concerns raised about the plans during the consultation, including by the Conservatives’ local election candidates in Widcombe, Conservative Councillors promised to look again at the proposal and instead implement whichever restriction would have the biggest impact upon reducing the number of HGVs across the city.
Deputy Conservative Leader Cllr Anthony Clarke (Lansdown) said:
“We’re very surprised that the Lib Dem Cabinet has simply re-published this Beckford Road weight restriction after initially withdrawing the same proposal. This plan has already been consulted upon and concerns were raised at the time that it would have no impact at all on the number of HGVs travelling along the Lower Bristol Road or Wellsway, and could even make the situation worse.
“Bath’s historic streets and buildings were not designed to cope with such large lorries. They add significantly to Bath’s pollution levels and cause misery for local residents. But these proposals from the Lib Dems won’t properly address this – as they themselves admitted before the local elections.
“It’s clear that the only weight restriction which will have a real impact upon reducing pollution and the number of HGVs across the city is on Cleveland Bridge, and it is this which the Lib Dems should be pursuing.”
Cllr Clarke has also criticised the Lib Dem Cabinet for its lack of transparency over the proposals, adding:
“The Lib Dems went out of their way before the election to claim that they would be utterly transparent in running the Council, yet have not been fully open with Wiltshire Council or residents about either the idea of a Wiltshire-based Park and Ride or the impact and effectiveness of this weight restriction.”